In April 2022, I was an Artist in Residence at the Wallace Stegner House in Eastend, Saskatchewan. I experienced firsthand the environment from his childhood recollections in Wolf Willow. He writes “…a land with no transition between earth and sky: in the heat the horizons melted and ran; on the flats the sky and clouds moved in the reflecting sloughs.”
In southeastern Saskatchewan, at the edge of the Cypress Hills, I found immeasurable horizons marked by evidence of occupation, bringing order to a landscape that had few orientation points. Along the empty roads was evidence of communities that once settled in this vast spacious prairie. On working farms were buildings in various stages of disassemblement, and it is difficult to discern whether or not these were abandoned farms or dwellings. Occupied or not, they were as organic as what else grew on the land. These structures were organically and geologically transforming, returning to the earth out of which they were hewn and grown. These structures were very much alive in their self-composting condition, windows missing, roofs delaminating, wood decomposing, vegetation engulfing them. They told the story of the Aperion: they emerged from the vast sense of endlessness, chaos where they had been a temporary definition of order and no longer occupied, now returning to the immeasurable spaciousness.